Children’s Books 2019

Pushing for attention in the much anticipated list of titles for 2019 were children’s books. Rather than mingle them awkwardly together, we thought it would be most useful to make a dedicated list of some of the children’s titles that are on our radar for this year. As with the adult list, books are skewed to the first half of the year as that’s the majority of the information we have access to… but hopefully this gives a sense of all the amazing things we have to look forward to!

The list is broken down into idiosyncratic subsections based on the shelving patterns of the shop but which are also hopefully fairly intuitive. Because of how fiendishly involving and interesting this has been, these blogposts will be serialised… this one is all about picture books!

Picture Books

Picture books are objectively wonderful things and these all look beautiful! We are continually amazed at the dazzling picture books being produced each month. Where no illustrator is mentioned the creator is both author and illustrator. If you think there’s something we should be thinking about that isn’t listed here then please do let us know!



Jo Empson, Jungle Jamboree (Puffin)
In Jo’s words, this is ‘packed with many colourful animal characters and is about the true meaning of beauty’. We’re hoping for cavorting jungle animals and high jinks.




Sabina Redeva, The Origin of the Species (Puffin)
A picture-book adaptation of Darwin’s work. Learn and be enchanted all at the same time.

Kate Pankhurst, Fantastically Great Women Who Worked Wonders (Bloomsbury)
Kate’s third book in the series, this time focusing on women in the world of work.

Mick Inkpen, Kipper: The Blue Balloon 30thAnniversary (Hachette Children’s Books)
Kipper is 30 this year! So delighted to see a special edition to mark this illustrious birthday. Fascinating aside, I was at university with Chloë Inkpen and vividly recall telling her how much I liked Kipper. Now as an illustrator too I hope many people are also telling Chloë how much they love Zoe and Beans, and Fred.

Charlotte Milner, The Sea Book (DK)
One of my highlights of 2018 was getting to visit the Dorling Kindersely headquarters to see Charlotte at work on the follow-up to The Bee Book. This promises to be an amazing creative and fact-filled object of art.




Nicola Davies and illustrated by Lorna Scobie, The Wonder of Trees (Hodder Children’s Books)
The follow-up to the excellent The Variety of Life (2017), this pairing of a reknowned authority on the great outdoors and an illustrator of vibrant energetic colourful characters is a sure-fire hit.

Anna Doherty, Sticky (Scholastic)
I love a badger in a picture book. Now when you hear that Anna Doherty’s is an entangled badger that needs help from an owl…

Anna Doherty, The Brontes: The Fantastically Feminist (and Totally True) Story of the Astonishing Authors (Wren and Rook)
Also by Anna, a picture book biography of the literary icons of Yorkshire. Now we just need a Wordsworth family one…

Malala Yousafzai and illustrated by Kerascoët, Malala’s Magic Pencil (Puffin)
Malala’s story for a younger audience and with captivating, hopeful images.

Katie Harnett, Monty and the Poodles (Flying Eye)
Fans of Jen Campbell’s Franklin series might recognise Katie Harnett’s illustrations. We were also huge fans of Katie’s previous book Archie Snufflekins, the master manipulator cat. This year, we’re introduced to an orphan dog, and a thankfully a support system of crafty canines who set up their own home together.




Ian Beck, The Magic Hour (Tate)
Based on John Singer Sargent’s painting ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose’, Beck’s book promises the story of Lily and Rose in the midst of a hot summer discovering fairies in their garden.

Miranda Krestovnikoff and illustrated by Jill Calder, The Sea: Exploring our Blue Planet, (Bloomsbury)
We were very lucky to glimpse a sneak preview of this at a bookseller’s day out at Bloomsbury HQ in the autumn time. It’s wonderful to see the creativity of an illustrator like Jill Calder working collaboratively with TV and radio’s Miranda Krestovnikoff to produce a book featuring so many specific, detailed examples of sea life.

Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar 50thAnniversary (Puffin)
Another friendly childhood companion has a significant birthday this year. The very hungry caterpillar, who is still munching away, turns 50 in 2019! To celebrate, Puffin are releasing a very shiny edition of the book.

Elys Dolan, Super Snail (Hachette Children’s Books)
Elys Dolan’s books are endlessly entertaining so I’d advise you shell out on this snail who will clearly solve all your problems. Superhero gastropods to the rescue.

Katie Cotton and illustrated by Hanna Konola, Art Masterclass with Claude Monet (Wide-Eyed Editions)
Activities and lessons in arting like the artists. This one promises to get us painting like Monet for comparatively little money.




Sarah McIntyre, Grumpycorn (Scholastic)
I think this might be the first unicorn-in-a-grump story I’ve ever seen. Naturally it’s Sarah McIntyre’s creative palette that brings you this wacky tale. It’s meant to celebrate friendship but I hope it surreptitiously supports the unicorn knitwear industry too.

Melissa Castrillon, Mighty Min (Scholastic)
A tiny girl called Min who lives in a miniature house at the bottom of the garden. An owl intervenes (owls are doing some fine cameo work at present) and Min goes on an adventure of self-discovery. A debut picture-book all about finding you’re really small and mighty.




Lizzy Stewart, The Way To Treasure Island (Lincoln Children’s Books)
From the creator of The Tiger in the Garden and Juniper Jupiter, this doesn’t come with much detail at the moment but I’m hoping more than toucan fit in that boat…

Gemma Koomen, The Tree Keepers: Flock (Lincoln Children’s Books)
Another debut picture book with stunning illustration. Here, a young girl, Sylvia, one of the titular tree keepers, befriends a bird and learns to share their friendship.



Pam Smy, Merrylegs (David Fickling)
After the breakout success of the graphic novel Thornhill here Smy and David Fickling Books promise a first picture book about ‘poor old Merrylegs’ who ‘is a dumpy, clumpy riding school pony’. But Merrylegs, as with all excellent picturebook ponies, is not giving in to a humdrum life, because Merrylegs has a dream! A fair arriving in town provides just the kind of impetus he needs… No cover yet but some preview art from DFB’s website here.




Rashmi Sirdeshpande and illustrated by Annabel Tempest, How To Be Extraordinary (Puffin)
A debut book from Rashmi Sirdeshpande, a graduate of the Penguin WriteNow scheme, this celebrates fifteen extraordinary people.

Rob Biddulph, Dinosaur Juniors: Wide Awake (HarperCollins)
Book three in the juniors series, and although not centred around our favourite Greg(osaurus) (well small cuddly versions of him haunted the shop last year so he’s always going to delight us), here we get a familiar tale told through the medium of cute dinosaur. Out of the Tyrannosaurus twins, Otto is sleepy but Winnie is not. Drama ensues.

Beatrix Potter and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, Red Riding Hood (Puffin)

‘come, put on thy little red hood, and trot away to thy Granny’s…’

Another Potter tale from the archives, previously included in a collection of writings edited by Leslie Linder in the 1970s. This time the tale gets treated to the full works as a standalone title, and is illustrated by superstar artist Helen Oxenbury. Expect this to be huge for a small book!

…to be continued in part 2.

— Will